Community Journalism – Week 4

Robert Mills

Week 4 of 5 was full of practical info for people to get started setting up a community site using WordPress. This is stuff I have previously been involved in when working with clients at Bluegg and when working on my own blog so the most interesting part for me this week was the audience focused information.

It started with an overview and discussion about the importance of mobile and tablet usage in relation to content. Figures from the Reuters Institute Digital News Report in 2013 show that a third of 25 – 44 year olds say that mobile is their main source of online news.

Building an audience

Claire Wardle then talked about building an audience using social media. Claire mentioned that the audience is fragmented and made up of lots of different communities but they are all built around trust. The key is to become a part of those communities so they then trust you, read what you say and share it too.

The talk then moved on to look at what I believe can be summarised as quality versus quantity. A community may consist of 1% creators, 9% editors and 90% audience … many of those being lurkers. Popularity is therefore not the same as influence.

You need to reach interested people, connecting with an engaged group over content they care about. Your tweet may be retweeted by someone with a lot of followers but if those followers aren’t interested in the content they won’t share it or engage with it.

We were then introduced to some tools to help with getting more out of social media platforms and finding and connecting with the relevant people, finding the quality among the quantity.

Inkybee was recommended to find content that your target audience is already reading. It also helps you connect with influencers.

Followerwonk was the next tool. This can help you dig deeper into your Twitter analytics.

Socialmention sounded interesting too. This is a real time social media search and analysis tool. It can help you find the people that talk a lot about a particular topic.

The key message throughout this lesson was once you have found your audience and connected with them, you have to keep them through engagement.

Moderating your audience

Now you have an audience, how do you manage them? We were told that online communications is the same as offline in terms of behaviour so behaviour should be dealt with in the same way. You need to lay down some guidelines for the boundaries of your community.

Of course, an online community won’t develop overnight but eventually as growth occurs and engagement is high, that community will moderate themselves to a degree.

The New York Times Facebook page spells out their mission for the community and shares their guidelines too:

Credit where credit’s due

The next part of this week’s lesson was focused on the importance of images in relation to engaging a community. Facebook is now more image led than previous versions. Some stats were shared with us regarding this:

  • Photo posts account for 93% of the most engaging posts on FB.
  • They get 53% more likes
  • And 104% more comments
  • There are 84% more click throughs on links than text based posts

Then we moved to a very important section on attribution. The course material said:

Pictures and images are increasingly important elements of online and mobile storytelling. They attract attention and drive greater audience numbers. However, unless you have taken a picture yourself, you need to be careful about what images you use and about copyright.

It was great to see the course tutor lead people through not only how to source appropriate imagery, but how to credit and attribute it to the owner, something many social media accounts in particular fail to do.

That discussion rounded off the penultimate week in the course.

If you liked this, you might like:

Community Journalism – Week 1

Community Journalism – Week 2

Community Journalism – Week 3

Community Journalism – Week 5